Posts Tagged ‘art’

I’m looking forward to April 22-23 for the first ever Art Plus Gallery home studio tour.  Jay and I will open up our studio on those days to visitors.  We are planning demonstrations, refreshments, door prizes, and are hoping the garden is in bloom.

Studio Tour in Wyomissing Neighbors

Tickets can be purchased at the Gallery, 604 Penn Ave, West Reading, PA 19611, on line, or at any of the studios on the tour. The address of ours is 15 Rocktown Road, Hamburg, PA, 19526. The tour is from 10 AM to 4 PM both days.

The attached article is from Wyomissing Neighbors.

If you are anywhere close, come on by!

We’d love to see you.

 

My art quilt friend Jenny Lyons, in her blog yesterday, mentioned a technique of using a large print in the center of a piece, and building the composition around it.

Jenny Lyons

She said she’d gotten the inspiration from Linda Waddle years ago:

Jenny on Linda Waddle

I was pleased to know this is actually “a thing,” because I just finished a piece using this technique.  In my head I was calling it using a “Photo starter.”  Jenny called it “Print Starter.”  Same difference! My photo print on cloth was 8.5 x 11,” and of course I wanted my quilt to be larger than that.

About a year ago I had taken a photo of one of my neighbor’s bone pile of rusty cars that he uses to cannibalize for parts. I’d printed the image on cloth, meaning to get back to it.  Which, finally I did.

First I backed it with just one piece of cloth, put it in my embroidery hoop, and started stitching on it.  I used simple stitches: French knots, big wonky cross stitches, and running stitches.

Then I designed “the surround” and cut and put that together using raw edge applique. I used fabrics that complemented the central photo. I included photos printed on silk that I’d taken at the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum while on a recent visit. You can see them peeking through here and there.

Now I had the entire composition, so I made my quilt sandwich and kept hand stitching.  Now each stitch served the function of both embroidering and quilting. The finished size is 23 x 17.5.”

rusty-musty-fusty-small

I won’t lie.  This took at least 2 weeks.

The part I like best is where I painstakingly combined individual strands of embroidery floss to get just the right mixture of colors. Here is a detail of that area.

rusty-musty-fusty-detail-2

I’m calling the piece Rusty Musty Fusty, and submitting it to a show called Muse at Studio B in Boyertown, PA. Curator Jane Stahl encourages literary submissions as well, so I made up this poem.  Though I’m not so sure it gets many “literary” kudos!

Rusty Musty Fusty

By Martha Ressler

 

Yo!  I like ‘em rusty and musty

Old city factories all scruffy

And in the country so crusty

They were cars or trains, all them parts so fusty

Lying around — almost art — a little fuzzy

The sun makes you just

Lovely though scruffy

That’s OK I’m not fussy

I’ll take you thusly

Beauty all rusty.

In response to a financially disastrous art fair experience last weekend, I’m trying something new: miniature art quilts. I think my problem was that I had too many “regular sized” and “regular priced” pieces, and not enough small ones, befitting art fair shoppers’ budgets.

I got the idea because our Pennsylvania SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) chapter is making postcard sized quilts (4 x 6″) to sell at our upcoming October state wide show. I made one for that, and tried making some more.

My husband, Jay Ressler, has been making frames for his art work, using an air compressor and nail gun that fires wire nails (headless).

He made me several 5 x 7″ frames for my 4 x 6″ quilts. He finishes them beautifully with stain, lacquer and wax.

Here is what I have so far.  We’ll see if the experiment work!

 

I’ve been immersed in reading David McCullough’s biography, “The Wright Brothers.” In particular he has drawn a loving portrait of Wilbur. Will was the elder brother, taller, and  a genius. He was careful in everything he did, thorough, calm and sober to a fault.

After much experimentation in America, both at Kitty Hawk, NC, and at their home in Dayton, OH, the brothers tried to sell their third flying machine. The US government spurned their advances twice, but France expressed interest.

On Will’s second trip there, a skeptical French reporter, Francois Peyrey met him. “I felt my doubts fly away one by one . . .Through curls of smoke I examined Wilbur Wright, his thin, serious face, lit by the strangely gentle, intelligent and radiant eyes . . . I had to admit: no, this man is not a bluffer.”France had many pilots who were also experimenting with flight. Wilbur’s eventual demonstration of their flying machine at LeMans in 1908 was a triumph. In his second flight he made two giant figure eights in front of the crowd, landing gracefully exactly at his point of departure. One famous French pioneer gasped, “Well, we are beaten!  We just don’t exist!”

A writer for Le Figaro concluded, “He and his brother made the conquest of the sky their existence.  They needed this ambition and profound, almost religious, faith in order to deliberately accept their exile to the country of the dunes, far away from all . . . Wilbur is phlegmatic but only in appearance. He is driven by a will of iron which animates him and drives him in his work.”

Wilbur was a man of science and action, but possessed by a broad intellectual and artistic curiosity. While in Paris he visited the Louvre 15 or more times, and filled pages with descriptions of the paintings he saw in his letters home. He preferred the Rembrandts, Holbeins and Van Dycks “as a whole” better than the Rubenses, Titians, Raphaels and Murillos. I looked up which painting of those masters are at the Louvre to grasp what it was he liked about them.

There are many late Rembrandt self portraits, brooding, isolated, and monochromatic. The “Philosopher in Meditation,” 1632, is also there, and must have appealed to Will. The Holbeins include “Erasmus,” the portrait of the greatest scholar of the Renaissance, and a Humanist.  It was he who wrote, “When I get a little money I buy books, and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” It sounds like Ben Franklin (or Wilbur Wright for that matter), but those were the words of Erasmus, born in 1469.  His masterful portrait of Nikolaus Kratzer is also there.

Anthony Van Dyke was a student of Rubens, and what attracted Wilbur is not immediately clear to me. He was a Flemish Baroque painter mostly of court portraits. Yet it was Anthony Van Dyke he liked best of all. I’d have to read Wilburs letters to learn why exactly.

Among the 19th Century French masters he loved Corot, especially his treatment of the sky.  That is easy to understand.

By the way, he always came to his own conclusions about art.  For example, he was critical of Notre Dame, finding the nave too narrow, the pillars too heavy and close together and the interior far too dark. But he praised the cathedral at Le Mans, although the only part of the church service he said he could understand was the collection!

 

I’ve been getting back to a method I used often in the past to add color and texture to fabrics for art quilts.

Gelatin printing is a method of creating a monoprint:  a print that can only be repeated once (unlike intaglio, wood cut, lino cut, silkscreen, or other methods of print making in which multiple copies can be made.).

The plate can either be home made or purchased http://www.gelliarts.com/.

I recently learned a different method of making the homemade plate from Linda Germain http://www.lindagermain.com/ using glycerin, in addition to the concentrated Knox plain gelatin.  This makes the plate more durable.  But, as I quickly found out, it sets up much more quickly, so that my first attempt has bubbles and flaws in it because it hardened while I was still smoothing it out!

Nevermind, I’m using it anyway, until I get ready to make a new one, in which I hope to improve.

For the art quilt I am starting now, I wanted to add a bit more color to my substrate, vintage feed bags, which I had also rusted (see a previous blog).

The gelatin printing added just enough texture and color.

 

 

Having just returned from vacation rested and refreshed, I’m starting to turn my attention back to my artwork and upcoming events. I’m the featured artist for July at Hamburg Art and Craft Gallery (Hamburg, PA), and the opening reception will be at our house/ studio. I get a chance to display art both in the gallery and at my studio, as well as show some of the techniques I use. Plus we’ll fire up the grill for hot dogs, with plenty of corn on the cob, beverages, and desserts.

Then I’m looking forward to classes: I have a full teaching schedule at GoggleWorks for the fall, though right now the only one on line is in August:

http://public.goggleworks.org/public/ClassesByMedium.faces

And I’m starting classes at Art Plus Gallery, beginning with Gelli Printing.  This is a fun, useful way to alter fabrics or papers for collage or art quilts. I’ve been doing it for years making my own gelatin plate, and now Gelli has come up with a synthetic substitute that gives you a clear, detailed print.

I just ordered a yard of silk fabric through Spoonflower, with images from the wonderful island of Ocracoke, where we went on vacation. I have an “Ocra-quilt” in mind — we’ll see if I can come close to the subtle quilt I am imagining, combining my memories of over 50 years ago with the reality of today. Good luck to me! The Outer Banks are such a unique environment, where the land meets the sea to create its own unique ecology.  I loved immersing myself in learning about the birds and plant life and just playing in the waves.

 

 

I have to admit I do enjoy organizing events, even though it puts a stress on my brain. Right now, though, I am juggling three major events at once, and my fear of forgetting something is causing me to lose sleep!

Tonight is the first public event organized by the Julio Cepeda Exhibition 2018 Committee. This is a group my husband and I started after seeing the art of Julio Cepeda in Cuba when we visited there last year.  I could instantly visualize an exhibition of his art at GoggleWorks Art Center in Reading, PA, and also visualize how making that happen could build bridges between Cuba and Reading, and within Reading itself.

We left our contact info with the gallery, and Julio contacted us. After I explained our idea, he was very enthusiastic about doing an exhibition. We talked with the art director of GoggleWorks, and started recruiting our friends, and friends of friends to the effort. Within a few months Julio had a contract for a show (Sept 8 to Oct 12 2018), we had a bank account, a Facebook Page and a website.  Our committee now consists of about 10 or so active people who meet every month, and tonight will be a fundraising mixer. I’m excited and, yes, nervous!

Then the next night is an opening at Art Plus Gallery. Nothing new there — happens every second Friday of every month.  But this time I’m the Featured Member artist. My art quilts are paired with a fabulous ceramic artist named Angela Shope. Even when I look at our work together, I concentrate on hers! I’m pretty sure everyone else will too, though, to be honest, they do go well together. So — I have butterflies about that event as well.

Then on Sunday we are hosting a fundraising event for the Reading Symphony Orchestra, “Art in the Garden.” We’ve been weeding like crazy, but we can’t keep up. We’ll just have our garden and studio looking the best we can, and try to relax.

Thank goodness, the next week we are going on vacation.

But of course that means more things to remember! My method is, and has always been, to make lists and check things off.

Feels so good to make that check mark!